22-24 May 2012
Red Tape, nationwide strikes and uncertainty...
The flight to Nepal went smoothly as it almost always does when flying on Thai Airways International. Things seem to work on time and with a great deal of attention to detail. The only new change is that Thai has return to the old schedule that requires you to overnight in Bangkok. All went well and we arrived in Kathmandu on time with all our bags and ready to go.
Nepal on the other hand is under a constant attack from the political wrangling within the ’“” –—…œewly elected’“” –—…Ntgovernment. After years of civil war the Maoist groups have now been elected to the government in a hope that things will improve for all people. It has been nearly four years since the election and still no constitution. This has been fueled in part by the constant changes in demands by both sides. The tactic used to support each cause is to call a general strike. This means that everything shuts down from 5am-5pm except tourist transportation. The challenge is to get even basic supplies and preparations for the trip taken care of in time to meet our flight to Tibet/China on the 24th May 2012. We needed to get our travel documents issued by the Chinese embassy before we could leave. Luckily we were able to submit our passports and papers through friends to the Chinese Embassy and as promised they arrived a day ahead of our departure.
Things in KTM were mostly shut down and there was little to see or do but wait. The good thing that happens as a result of the strike is that the air gets a little bit cleaner. This is especially good because to get anything done you must walk. When the traffic is in full swing the air is fowl and can cause some real respiratory distress. This is not something any of us needs before we fly on to Tibet/China.
Nima and Phurba walked over to the Malla Hotel to see us and to check that everything was OK. Luckily for them they are used to walking so the 2 hour round trip was not too big a hardship. We on the other hand ventured out only a little during our stay in Kathmandu. Audrey did get in a half day of sightseeing. She went in search of ’“” –—…œodern art’“” –—…Ntbut found traditional arts and crafts instead. Check out her blog at www.audreygonzalez.net for details on her sightseeing and shopping spree!!!
The strike ended the day before we left for Tibet/China and was still called off the morning we departed. We arrived at the airport and checked-in for our flight only to be told it was to be delayed by two hours. Again waiting’“” –—… Will we ever get to Tibet/China?
Nima Tashi and his wife Ang Phurba after their walk to the Malla Hotel to greet us.
Audrey eating pizza after the strike... finally a place to go and something to do!!!!